Category Archives: Movie Review

Movie Review: The Martian

4 The Martian (2015)

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast:  Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover

I’ll be honest, it has been a while since I’ve gone to the movies. It’s not that there haven’t been good movies playing, its just that I haven’t found the time to go. Thankfully though last week I finally got around to watching The Martian, and I have to say it was a very good movie.

I’ve known about The Martian for a while now, my dad and brother both read the best selling novel by Andy Wier and they had both highly recommended it. I already knew the gist of the story so I was already interested in watching the film when it came out. Knowing that it was going to be directed by Ridley Scottt was just the cherry on top.

For those that don’t know the film follows the exploits of an astronaut named XXX (played by Matt Damon) and his struggle to survive after being stranded in Mars by himself. It’s a fairly original story but it did remind me of some other films. Some could say that The Martian is just a mix of Apollo 13, Cast Away & Gravity.  At its core the movie is about survival, and the fact that space is a scary dangerous place. With that being said, the plot is still original enough to keep you interested.

The first thing I have to point out is the amazing cast involved in the film. I can’t remember the last movie that had such a long list of well-known and talented actors. I mean just look at the cast: (Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover) that is some serious acting talent right there.

As you can imagine the acting on the film was quite good. I think Jessica Chastain, and Sean Bean really stood out from the rest of the cast. They both did fantastic jobs at portraying their characters. I especially liked how emotive they were in scenes where tough decisions had to be made. Matt Damon was great as well, it can’t be easy playing a character who is alone for most of the movie, but he pulled it off.

Another great thing about the movie is the amazing scenery and visual effects. Most of the movie takes place in Mars so there are a number of really beautiful panoramic shots of the red planet. This really is the type of movie that is better to watch on the big screen just because of the great shots in it.

Finally, the last thing that I really liked about the film is the fact that it seemed very scientifically accurate and realistic. I’m no scientist but I can tell that some real experts were consulted in the making of this movie. I always appreciate when filmmakers make an effort to present things as realistically as possible and I think Ridley Scott did a wonderful job of that in The Martian.

With that being said there are still a few things that bugged me about the movie. For one, I expected Matt Damon’s character to be a big more broken up about being stranded in another planet months away from any other human being. I know the point of the story is to highlight his ingenuity, perseverance and will to survive but I would have liked him to be a bit more depressed, mad or frustrated during certain events. He was a big too upbeat for my liking, but hey maybe his character really was just that strong willed.

Another thing, I wish we knew more about all the characters in the movie. The film starts off when the astronauts are already in mars and we get to see very little interaction between them . I wish I knew more about their backstories and their relationships with one another. I think audiences tend to care more about a character when they find out more about them, but in The Martian everyone was pretty much defined by their job or role in the mission. It would have been nice to know what exactly they were leaving behind at home, or what motivated them to become the people they are.

Overall though The Martian is still an excellent movie, and I’m really just nitpicking. I wish the ending was less predictable, but you have to expect that from a movie like this. Yes the plot was pretty straight forward, but I still found it quite enjoyable. I wish they had shown more of each characters back story, but the cast still did an excellent job in portraying their roles. The Martian is a visually stunning, and entertaining film, and while it may not be perfect it is still a very very good movie, and I highly recommend it. 4/5

Movie Review: Dope

4 Dope (2015)

This review is a few weeks late since I saw the movie back in June, but better late than never! This movie is so good it deserves to be talked about more. Dope has a mostly unknown group of actors but it is such a great movie. It has an excellent performances by the cast, a fantastic soundtrack, and a a hilarious yet thought provoking plot.

The film’s story is very original, it does gets a little too far fetched sometimes with the character’s schemes and their use of technology, but the film is so enjoyable to watch that I give the filmmakers a pass.Even though its technically a high-school movie, Dope is very different from any other “high school movie” that I’ve ever seen been before. For one the film takes place in Inglewood, California in a neighborhood referred to as “the bottoms”. It’s not often that you see major motion pictures set in the hood, where the main characters aren’t gangsters, rappers, or thugs. What makes Dope unique is that the 3 main characters are all nerdy kids that want to go to college. Dope is both a hilarious and dramatic film that pays attention to an often ignored side of our society, and does an excellent job at telling an original story.

There are plenty of things to like about this film. It’s beautifully shot, and edited. The film has a fantastic soundtrack, great visuals and very well made montages. The dialogue is very funny and witty too. What made the movie for me though had to be the performances by all the main characters. Shameik Moore (who plays the main character Malcolm) in particular gave a superb performance, I see a bright future in the movie business for him. There is one scene in particular where he finally stands up to his tormentor that was so good it gave me chills. Tony Revolori & Kiersey Clemons were excellent as well, they both did great jobs at making their characters funny and relate-able at the same time. I also enjoyed the supporting role performances by Blake Anderson (of Workaholics fame) as well as rapper A$AP Rocky‘s  first big role in a motion picture.

Another great thing about the Dope is all the questions that it raises. There aren’t too many films out there that focus on high school kids that go to school in the ghetto, Dope does an excellent job at telling a unique story that focuses on an ofter ignored minority in our country. The film deals with themes like drugs, violence, bullying, gang mentality, pressure from society, and what it means to be black nowadays.

Dope is a far from perfect film, but it’s refreshingly original and it breaks the mold of what a high-school/coming of age movie is supposed to be like. Dope isn’t scared to ask hard questions, and shine a light at some ugly aspects of our society. It is a very thought provoking film, but it is also very funny and so enjoyable to watch. I don’t know much about director Rick Famuyiwa‘s work but I’ll be sure to check out his future projects. Dope is an amazing movie and it deserves all the praise it gets. if you haven’t already done so, go see it! 4/5

Movie Review: Spy

5 Spy (2015)

I just got back from watching Spy, and I absolutely loved every minute of it. It is hands down, without a doubt the best comedy that I’ve seen in a long time. It’s easily the funniest movie of the year, and I honestly can’t praise it enough.

Clearly the movie is hilarious. There were so many amazing jokes throughout the film, it’s impossible to remember them all. The dialogue was amazing, it seemed as if there was a joke in every characters lines and I absolutely loved it. I don’t think I stopped laughing for more than a few seconds and that was probably just to catch my breath.

The plot was pretty straightforward, there were no big surprises but I still found it very enjoyable. There were no major plot holes and everything moved along smoothly. The film’s cast was simply fantastic as well. Melissa McCarthy is one of the funniest women alive, and I am such a big fan of her work. I’ve loved her in everything I’ve seen her in and Spy is no exception. She does an amazing job at portraying her character as the shy nerdy type who has a dark/badass side. She has so many memorable lines and scenes in the movie, she really is a pleasure to watch.

Rose Byrne was her usually beautiful and hilarious self. Some of the best scenes in the movie were between Byrne and McCarthy’s characters. Both women just absolutely killed with their delivery of their jokes. I was laughing at pretty much everything that came out of their mouths.

One of the best and most pleasant surprises in the movie had to be Jason Statham. Not only is he arguably the biggest action star in Hollywood right now, but he definitely has the gift for comedy. He has excellent comedic timing and is absolutely hilarious as the straight man. His character was just the best. Everything he said was even funnier just because it was coming from such a serious badass. I know he’s had great success making action movies but I’d really love to see him do more comedies like this because he was simply awesome in it.

The person that I think stole the show though had to be newcomer Miranda Hart. She played kind of McCarthy’s side-kick/best friend and she had me laughing out loud with every single thing she said or did. She is without a doubt one of the best things about the movie, she is just hilarious. I hope they make a sequel just so I get to see more of her. Really, she was that good and that funny.

Spy isn’t just about jokes and comedy though, it’s actually also a pretty great action movie too. The stunts and action sequences were expertly shot and choreographed. This movie had some of the best fight scenes that I’ve seen in a while. I can’t say enough good things about them, they were both funny and exciting at the same time (they were pretty gory too). I especially liked the use of slow motion during some of the fight scenes, it helped make a funny movie even funnier. McCarthy more than held her own as an “action star” doing an excellent job in all that stunts and action sequences. I find it refreshing to see an action-comedy with a female lead. You don’t really see many of those types of movies but I hope that after this one we see more like them.

The movie also had great positive message. With a strong female lead like McCarthy the movie showed that women can be just as funny and badass as men. There is a definite theme of empowering women, and showing how a woman doesn’t need a man to be successful.

Overall, Spy is an absolute comedic masterpiece. I really can’t think of anything that I didn’t like about it, if anything I just wish it was longer so I’d get to see more of it. Director Paul Feig and McCarthy have proven to be an amazing team, and I can’t wait to see their next movie. I just absolutely loved Spy, and I enjoyed watching every minute of it. My face still hurts from laughing so much. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard and so often during a movie. It is without a doubt the best comedy of the year, and I can’t wait to see it again. If you haven’t already done so, go see it!! I can’t recommend it enough. 5/5

Movie Review: Jurassic World

3.5 Jurassic World (2015)

I finally got around to watching Jurassic World this week. I knew the movie was going to be a big hit, but I had never imagined it would be such a huge commercial success. I was pretty shocked when I found out it had already made more than $200million in the domestic box office on opening weekend. I already wanted to watch the movie, but knowing this made me want to watch it even more. I wanted to see if the hype was warranted. Now that I’ve seen the movie I can see what the hype was about, and why it’s been such a massive success. At the same time however I left the theater feeling a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I thought Jurassic World was a great movie, and I was thoroughly entertained, but this is definitely one of those movies that while good, could have been so much better.

First off, the things I liked about the movie. Obviously the main reason people want to watch this movie is all the action sequences and the dinosaurs. Jurassic World more than delivers on both. This movie has some of the best CGI I have ever seen. The dinosaurs look very very real, it’s amazing how far technology has advanced in the 20 years since the first film in the series came out. The action in the movie is fantastic as well. There are a ton of fights between man and dinosaur and even between dinosaur and dinosaur. The best parts of the movie definitely revolve around the dinosaurs and the mayhem they create.

Chris Pratt was his usual awesome self, he nailed his character as the tough guy badass, and he was also quite funny in the few scenes where he actually had comedic dialogue. The rest of the cast was nothing special, but It was great seeing Jake Johnson (New Girl) as one of the Jurassic World employees. I will say however that I was thoroughly impressed by the fact that Bryce Dallas Howards character wore high heels throughout the entire movie. She runs in heels better than most people do in running shoes, it really is an amazing feat.

The main thing that I disliked about the movie was the fact that it was painfully predictable. The movie was pretty straightforward, nothing really surprised me. I was even able to predict exactly how certain characters would die, which is never a good sign when it comes to a movie like this. Pretty much all the characters were one dimensional. You could tell who the good guys and the bad guys were right from the start and those roles didn’t change at all throughout the film. Everything was a little too obvious for my taste. I never really felt scared for any of the main characters, which is a bit sad considering the type of film Jurassic World is.

Not only was the movie predictable, but the number of plot holes was pretty obvious as well. I can overlook a certain amount of plot holes, particularly in summer blockbuster type movies, but Jurassic World had just too many to ignore. There were far too many lucky coincidences for my taste. Also, most of the dialogue in the film was pretty cheesy. I wouldn’t really say the acting was bad, I just think the actors didn’t have the best dialogue to work with.

I know I’m being pretty harsh on this film, and that’s probably due to my high expectations going in. The thing about Jurassic World that upsets me isn’t that it’s a bad movie, I would actually say It’s a pretty good movie, it’s just that it could have been so much better. At the end of the day Jurassic World is not the smartest or well thought out movie, but it is entertaining, and it more than delivers on the action side of things. I wish it would have been better, but I would still recommend watching it. For all my criticisms I still left the theater in a good mood, and feeling entertained. 3.5/5

Movie Review: Mad Max Fury Road

4.5 Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

The other movie I saw this weekend was Mad Max: Fury Road. As I’m sure most of you know it has gotten almost unanimous rave reviews by movie critics and I have to agree with them. Mad Max is a non-stop pulse pounding thrill ride and it just might be my favorite action movie of 2015.

Right away the first thing that caught my eye about the movie was the fact that it was visually stunning. From the setting, to the landscapes to the crazy vehicles everything in the movie looks great. It has some of the best stunt work I’ve ever seen in a film. The entire movie is basically just one long chase scene and it had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Everything is meticulously and expertly choreographed. Some of the action scenes had to have needed such a high level of coordination, it really is impressive what the filmmakers were able to pull off. And it all looks so good too.

The movie is so fast paced I felt like I needed to catch my breath when it was all over. George Miller did such a fantastic job with this film, it almost feels as if the audience is part of the chase scene as well. It is all just non-stop action and super tense battle sequences. I am not kidding when I say that I was on the edge of my seat during the whole movie, I probably only blinked a handful of times hahaha.

The film is set in a very weird and interesting world. The story is very engrossing and you definitely get heavily invested in the main characters. What makes Mad Max great isn’t just the action (because let’s face it, there are tons of movies with great stunts and action sequences), but rather the superb performances delivered by the cast. Charlize Theron is simply perfect in her portrayal of the deadly Imperator Furiosa. Not much is known about her character’s back-story but in the few lines of dialogue that Theron has you find out all you need to know about her. It really is one of the best performances of her career, and that’s saying something.

Nicholas Hoult was amazing as well playing Nux, a sort of brainwashed warrior that is part of a cult-like society. He does an excellent job at portraying his character’s crazy psychopathic side, but at the same time he shows flashes of genuine human emotion that makes his character so much more interesting and relatable.

Another fantastic aspect of the movie has to be the soundtrack. Those pounding drums and sick guitar riffs perfectly complement the action and the drama in the movie. The music and the visuals just go together beautifully.

There are a few things that I didn’t like about the film though. For one I wish they would have gone into a little bit more depth into the back story. Mad Max is set in such a cool and interesting place I would have loved to have found out how things got the way they did. There are so many weird and fascinating characters that are just so interesting to me, that I wish they would have shown how they got to be the way they are. To be fair I never watched any of the original Mad Max films, but still I feel like this movie should be able to stand on its own and there were far too many unanswered questions for my liking.

I’m also not a huge fan of Tom Hardy‘s performance. I wouldn’t say that it was bad, in fact I thought he did a great job at portraying a man who is very badass but clearly damaged. Again I would have liked to have known more about his back story, but I understand that sometimes being mysterious has its appeal too. It’s hard to say exactly what I didn’t like about his performance, I guess it had to do with his delivery of certain lines. Honestly I’m probably just nit-picking here.

Oh and another issue that I had was that some of the dialogue was hard to understand. I don’t know if it was due to the accents or the facial gear that some of the characters had to wear but there were definitely some lines that were almost incomprehensible, which is a shame.

All in all though, these were just small issues in an otherwise fantastic film. Simply put Mad Max: Fury Road is an excellent and original film. It is without a doubt one of the best movies I’ve seen all year. If you like action then you’re going to love it, and even if you’re not the biggest action fan I would still recommend watching it for the actor’s performances alone. Mad Max: Fury Road is a masterpiece and I highly recommend it.


Movie Review: Furious 7

4 Furious 7 (2015)

I finally got around to watching Furious 7 the other day. I’ll admit I’m not the biggest fan of the Fast and Furious franchise. I liked the first 2 movies, but I’ve enjoyed the movies less and less as they’ve gotten bigger, more exaggerated, and way less believable. I know movies aren’t supposed to be exactly like real life. Especially with action movies there has to me some sort of suspension from reality but even so I found the last 3 movies in the franchise less and less enjoyable to watch. With that being said Furious 7 is without a doubt the best installment of the series. It’s even bigger and more extreme than its predecessors but it also has certain elements that make it better than any other Fast and Furious movie ever.

As expected the stunts and actions sequences are amazing. It has superb fight scenes and some of the best chase scenes I’ve ever seen. The Fast and Furious franchise is known for its automobile action and stunts and this movie cranks it up to the next level. It really is a non-stop action thrill ride and I enjoyed almost every minute of it.

Furious 7 in my opinion also has a much better plot than the previous movies in the series. There are still plenty of plot holes and its all relatively predictable, but the filmmakers did a good job in creating drama and tense situations that kept me interested throughout the film. As most people know by now Paul Walker tragically died before having finished filming the movie. I thought the director did a fantastic job at keeping the audience at the edge of their seats in regards to Paul’s character and whether he would perish in the film as well.

My favorite thing about the film was probably the main villain Deckard Shaw (played by the always great Jason Statham). He is without a doubt the best antagonist the Fast and Furious franchise has ever had. I absolutely loved the way the character was introduced. The opening of the movie might just be one of the best character introductions that I’ve ever seen. The filmmakers did an amazing job showing just how powerful and dangerous this new adversary really was. Statham‘s character walked the walk more than he talked the talk, he was fast, ruthless and very good at what he did. All very important traits to a good villain. I hope Shaw’s character continues to be a part of the franchise somehow.

My second favorite character would probably be Roman Pearce (played by Tyrese). He didn’t have the biggest role in the film, and served mainly as comedic relief but he did that job masterfully. I was laughing at every single one of his lines. For a musician/action movie star he really has a gift for comedy. I also liked Kurt Russell‘s character Frank Petty, he is definitely another great addition to the series.

I didn’t really like how much like its predecessors, Furious 7 still has a ton of cliches and simply ridiculous scenes (Vin Diesel picking up an armored car anyone?). I didn’t really like the whole “God’s eye” part of the film, it felt waay too unbelievable. The movie makes hacking seem like something anyone can do with the simplest of electronic devices. There are certain scenes that are straight up laughable because of how exaggerated or ridiculous they are. The movie has very cheesy dialogue and not the best acting, but really that’s ok considering the type of movie it is.

What I disliked the most about the movie (which is the same as with the previous 3 films in the series) still has to be Dominic Toretto (played by Vin Diesel). I like Diesel as an actor but he is simply terrible in this one. He has awful dialogue (which he always seems to deliver in the lowest possible tone of voice) and awful one liners like “The thing about a street fight is that the streets always win” (What does that even mean?!?). The acting isn’t what bothered me the most though, it had to be the fact that by this point Toretto is pretty much a super human being. He never seems to get hurt, never gets bruised or cut despite doing things that would surely kill any other human being on earth. He has somehow developed superhuman abilities. He’s now able to lift armored cars, survive fatal car crashes and do other terribly ridiculous things. The entire character is just too unrealistic/exaggerated to be taken seriously and that to me makes the film less enjoyable.

In the end though, what made me give the movie 4 stars instead of 3.5 had to be the beautiful ending and homage to the late Paul Walker. It really was so well done, it almost had me tearing up. For all the explosions and action, at the end of the the day the movie is still only as good as the characters (and the actors who play them) in it. Furious 7 may not be the smartest or the best written movie out there but it is still so much fun to watch. It’s non-stop action and amazing stunts and driving sequences. It may be a little hard to watch at times but it is still without a doubt the best film in the franchise and one that I would very much recommend watching. 4/5

Movie Review: Ex Machina

4.5 Ex Machina (2015)

I watched Ex Machina yesterday. Going into the theater I was very curious to see what the movie was going to be like. The film’s trailer had piqued my interest, it seemed like a pretty creative film and I was very interested by the subject matter. I had heard great things about the movie and I knew that it had received excellent reviews from the critics. When I walked out of the theater, there was no doubt in my mind that Ex Machina is one of the best films of 2015.

There is something very unique and appealing about Ex Machina. It is unlike any other movie I’ve seen in recent memory. It has a very small cast (there are only really 4 characters in the movie) and the entire film takes place in one location. It is easily one of the most interesting and well-made thrillers that I have ever seen. The film is beautifully shot, I loved the contrast between the futuristic look of the compound and the beautiful green landscape and lush nature that surrounds the building.

One of my favorite things about the film was the great performances by the three main leads. Oscar Isaac gave yet another fantastic performance, this time playing an eccentric billionaire who always seems like he’s hiding something. Domhnall Gleeson gave a great performance as well, he did a really good job in portraying his character as the charming and somewhat innocent man who gets flown into a secluded complex with a mysterious job opportunity. I loved watching the transition his character made as the film went on, how his expressions and mannerisms changed as he found out more and more about the mysterious compound. With that being said, my favorite performance had to be from the film’s breakout star, the relatively new Alicia Vikander, who plays the beautiful, sentient robot at the center of it all. Vikander did an absolutely superb job playing a machine acting human. She did such a good job with the subtle facial expressions. Her eyes alone were able to convey such powerful emotions without even uttering a single word. She made her character both charming and mysterious, scary yet vulnerable. She did such a fantastic job, I see bright things in her future in the entertainment industry. All these performances were made even better thanks to the great cinematography of the film. The director did a great job of getting in up close to the actors faces during tense or emotional moments so that the audience could get a full appreciation of all the great performances by this very talented cast.

The film deals with what I personaly consider to be a very interesting subject matter. Without giving too much away the movie deals with the creation of Artificial Intelligence, the future of technology and its role in our world. There are so many fascinating conversations and discussions in the film and even more fascinating questions that arise from them. If you have any interest in technology and its future then I guarantee that you will like this movie.

What makes Ex Machina such a great movie is the fact that it is brilliantly suspenseful, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time because I never knew what was going to happen next. I pride myself on being able to see plot twists coming in movies and this movie had me guessing so much that I wasn’t even close to seeing any of the plot twists coming in the film. Ex Machina has twists on twists on twists that make the film extremely captivating. It really is a roller-coaster ride, going up and down and side to side always keeping you on your toes and never sure of what is going to happen next. I think a sign of a great movie is when it is able to surprise you. Ex Machina was such a pleasant surprise, and then some.

I can’t say enough good things about this movie. I really can’t think of anything major that I didn’t like about it. It really is a brilliantly unique film that is creative and exciting to watch. The performances by the cast were exquisit and the plot is so engrossing that you won’t even want to blink. I can’t reommend this movie enough, if you’re a fan of science fiction, thrillers, or just great movies in general you have to see Ex Machina. 4.5/5

Movie Review: Hot Pursuit

3  Hot Pursuit (2015)

When I first saw the trailer for Hot Pursuit, I really wanted to watch the movie. I think Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon are both great actresses with a knack for comedy, and to me the movie looked pretty good. I was surprised that when it came out it received poor reviews from most movie critics. I still thought the movie looked funny, but I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a good movie or not. I went to watch it tonight with my parents, and even though I see what some of the critics were saying I don’t think its a bad movie at all. In fact I had a lot of fun watching it, and I thought it was pretty funny.

Hot Pursuit was never going to be a fantastic comedy, but what made me want to watch it was the fact that you don’t usually see too many comedies with 2 female leads. Even though the story was simple and pretty predicable I still enjoyed watching the film. The acting was pretty cheesy by everyone except Witherspoon and Vergara who both nailed their respective roles. The supporting cast definitely could have been better, with the exception of Jim Gaffingan who was his usual hilarious self. I think the best part of the movie is just watching those two lovely ladies interact with one an other. Vergara and Witherspoon have great chemistry and it shows on screen. I’ll admit this movie doesn’t have the most sophisticated jokes but I still found myself laughing constantly.

There are a ton of things that could have been better, but at the end of the day, I didn’t have too high expectations for this movie and I was pleasantly surprised when I left the theater. Hot Pursuit is nothing to write home about, but it is a somewhat fresh take on the whole “buddy comedy” genre, and both Witherspoon and Vergara are a pleasure to watch. This is the type of movie that you don’t have to take too seriously to enjoy. Its simple yet effective in its comedy and I had fun watching it. I know this may not be the type of movie that everyone enjoys but if you like action-comedies or buddy cop movies then I think you’ll like this one. It may not be the best comedy out there, but it will make you laugh and at the end of the day, that’s all I want from my comedic films. 3/5

Movie Review – Avengers: Age of Ultron

4.5 Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron just might have been my most anticipated movie of 2015. I went into the theater yesterday filled with excitement and tremendous anticipation for what I was about to watch. I’ll be honest, deep down I already knew it was going to be a fantastic movie, so my expectations were high to say the least. Turns out my expectations were right. Age of Ultron lives up to the hype and then some. It is an superb film with an amazing cast, and a great story. Let’s just say it did not disappoint.

Right off the bat the thing that stands out the most in the movie is the fantastic action sequences and visual effects. This movie has some of the best fight scenes and action sequences that I’ve ever seen. Most of the movie is one big fight against a crazy number of enemies and the filmmakers did a great job at blending everything together to make the action sequences flow without missing a beat. I think most moviegoers watch movies like this for the action and Age of Ultron delivers tons of it.

One advantage that Age of Ultron had over the first Avengers movie is that it didn’t have to take the time to have the Avengers come together, they’re already a team at the start of the movie which speeds things up a little bit and allows for further exploration of the relationships between all the mighty heroes in the movie. There are several very interesting relationships among the Avengers that we got to see more of in this film. I liked how the movie delved a little deeper into Hawkweye and his private life. He’s a character that I felt was underused in the first movie so it’s nice to see him getting a little bit more screen time in this one. Getting to see the characters as more human and less super powered beings is a good thing in my opinion, because it makes you realize that they aren’t immortal and do have a lot to loose, which only makes the action and fight scenes all the more exhilarating and nerve wracking.

I think it’s very interesting to see the budding romantic relationship between Bruce Banner (The Hulk) and Black Widow, I find the Hulk to be fascinating as a character so It’s always interesting to see how he reacts to different people while he is in “Hulk-mode”. The most interesting interactions though had to have been between Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Captain America. There is definitely a feud building between the two leaders of the group, there are hints of their “beef” in Age of Ultron, but their dispute won’t be settled until next years Captain America: Civil War (which I can’t wait to see either).

There are a few new characters that were introduced in the movie. There were the super powered twins (Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver) and The Vision. I’m a fan of all 3 additions to the film series. I think both Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany did excellent jobs in portraying their characters and I’m interested to see how their future plays out in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I do wish however that the filmmakers had taken a bit more time to explain the twins background. There are a few mentions of what happened to them, but I personally would have liked to have known more about their back story and how they got their powers.

As with the first Avengers film there was plenty of great humor mixed in with all the action and drama. Robert Downey Jr is his usual hilarious self, and the other characters do a good job in mixing in some comedic relief in what is an otherwise pretty dark film. There are plenty of running gags in the movie, I particularly enjoyed the joke with Thor’s hammer as well as Captain America and his “Language” line. I think that compared to the first film Age of Ultron has slightly better acting, and less cheesy dialogue but that’s just my initial impression.

There are very few things that I didn’t like about the movie. If anything there are just aspects of the film that weren’t really bad, but I feel could have been better. James Spader did a good job in portraying the main villain Ultron. He had the perfect voice for the role, making the character intimidating not just physically but also psychologically. With that being said, I’m not a huge fan of how Ultron was ultimately portrayed in the grand scheme of things. I think his character was introduced too fast, and even though I understood his goals, the reasoning behind them was still a little confusing/vague. I wish the filmmakers had spent a little bit more time on Ultron and what made him act the way he did. To me it just seemed like the entire film he was doing something to help his schemes and plans but he rarely ever really went too into depth on his master plan. He honestly wasn’t as badass as I thought he would be from watching the trailer. He seemed pretty immature for a sentient super robot. He has some great scenes and very memorable lines of dialogue, but I expected more from the being that was supposedly the Avengers greatest adversary to date.

On that same note, I think the final confrontation with Ultron was a bit anti-climactic. Without getting too much into it, I can acknowledge that it wasn’t easy to defeat him (the heroes had to do a ton of work to stop him and save the world), but I just think the Avengers made it look a little too easy as far as defeating him in a 1 on 1 fight. Throughout the film he kept upgrading himself and was supposedly becoming more and more powerful yet in the end it seemed that everyone in the team was able to hurt him and he didn’t put up much of a fight. To be fair this is all just nitpicking, Spader did a great job, and even though Ultron wasn’t what I expected he was still a quality villain and a very interesting character.

In the end, I wouldn’t say that Age of Ultron is better than the first Avengers film, but it is still an excellent movie that I think everyone (who is a fan of these types of movies) should see. This film has an amazing cast of actors who all do great jobs in portraying their beloved characters. There is so much action and drama and its all complemented perfectly with great humorous moments and great interpersonal relationships between the characters. All in all, Avengers: Age of Ultron is not a perfect movie, but it is close to it. I highly recommend it. I liked it so much, I might just go see it again while it’s still in theaters. 4.5/5

Movie Review: I Heart Huckabees

4.5 I Heart Huckabees (2004)

After many years of it being on my “Movies to Watch” list I finally got around to watching I Heart Huckabees, and I absolutely loved it. David O.Russell is one of my favorite filmmakers of all time, he has written and directed some of my favorite movies in recent memory (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle), and I absolutely love his filmmaking style.

Huckabees is admittedly a pretty weird movie that probably doesn’t appeal to most people but I just loved it. For one it is absolutely original, I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a movie like it. Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin play “Existential Detectives,” that alone should let you know how weird and unique the movie is. The film deals with a lot of themes that are somewhat difficult to understand/appreciate. There plenty of conversations about existentialism, philosophy and the meaning of life, it can get a little heavy but O.Russell did a fantastic job at mixing in humor with some of the heavier themes. I thought the movie was absolutely hilarious, Hoffman’s character in particular always made me laugh when he was onscreen.

The entire cast is amazing, there are so many great actors in this movie (Dustin Hoffman, Jude Law, Jason Schwartzman, Lily Tomlin, Mark Wahlberg, Naomi Watts) and they all deliver excellent performances. There are even a few scenes with a young Jonah Hill (this was his film debut I believe). I’m surprised the film didn’t do better in the box office with a list of names like this.

I really can’t think of anything I disliked about the movie. With that being said I understand that I Heart Huckabees is not for everyone, but as I mentioned at the start of the review I personally just absolutely loved it. To me it was a beautiful, quirky, creative and refreshingly unique movie that deserves to be seen.

So if you are a fan of fun, original comedies and think that your movie tastes are similar to mine then I absolutely recommend watching this movie. Even if you’re not a big fan of philosophy and things like that, I Heart Huckabees is worth watching for the cast alone. 4.5/5